The Missouri Public Transit Association (MPTA) provider members provide more than 60 million rides a year almost everywhere for everybody almost every day in Missouri, and they employ thousands in our communities. Public transportation is serving as a link between people and possibilities. It is promoting equality, job creation, stronger economies and the vibrancy of local neighborhoods. Transit is delivering on its promise to Missouri despite the distinct lack of funding. But, the impact could be bigger, better and more profound. Any increase in investment by the State of Missouri could exponentially change the game in terms of economic return. Funding tops the list of the 2020 policy agenda.
MPTA supported the passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act which was passed into law in December 2015. The FAST Act funds surface transportation programs at over $305 billion for fiscal years (FY) 2016 through 2020. That legislation expires in September 2020. New legislation, a five-year reauthorization of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act to be called America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019, was introduced on July 29 by the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. This new legislation is a time for MPTA and its members to make their voices and opinions heard to improve transportation policy and increase transit investment. Priorities for transit:
- Multi-year transportation reauthorization legislation to provide consistency for planning.
- Growth in the Highway Trust Fund’s Mass Transit Account through increased transportation investment funding. The Highway Trust Fund, which supports federal grant programs for transit, is near insolvency. MPTA supports raising the federal gas tax which has not been raised since 1993 and/or other funding mechanisms to ensure the Fund remains solvent and the federal program continues to play a part in funding transportation infrastructure at the national level.
- Key transit formula programs (Sections 5307, 5310, 5311 and 5339) funded fully out of the Highway Trust Fund’s Mass Transit Account. Missouri has the largest rural transit provider in the country, OATS, and providing sustainable and increasing funding is imperative to meet the needs of this market.
- Predictable, steady growth in key formula programs (Sections 5307, 5310, 5311 and 5339) throughout the reauthorization.
- Incorporation of new transit service delivery modes and mobility on demand including real time technology, smart phone applications, new fare systems and autonomous vehicles have the opportunity to be addressed in this legislation.
Support a statewide funding plan for transit access for workforce development training. Currently, there are hundreds of job training programs – the foundation for successful workforce development – across Missouri which are not accessible due to transportation hurdles. Adoption of such a plan would reflect the importance of public transit to expanding opportunities for job access. A Job Training Transit Access Fund would provide the necessary bridge to move Missourians successfully to full-time employment. A state investment of $8 million in transit access programming would be a game-changer for Missouri education institutions and employers.
MO transit providers serve the elderly and disabled in every county in Missouri including OATS, SMTS and SERVE. These services are essential to healthcare access, job access, and education. The costs of these rides range from $12-$93. Without these services, many in Missouri would not be able to live let alone prosper. MPTA is supporting the $3 million from General Revenue in MoDOT’s budget to support these services. This investment will provide the much needed, predictable funding for MO providers to ensure this service is provided.
Enhance safety and security of public transit through statewide law enforcement on transit systems and opposition of any efforts to allow conceal and carry/open carry on transit. In light of the understanding that allowing firearms on public transit may serve as a detriment to ridership and has not been proven to enhance safety and security, many Missouri Public Transit Association (MPTA) members have opposed any legislation which would allow carrying weapons on transit.
There are many ways for you to be involved with these efforts as MPTA members and transit supporters.
- Please contact your legislators now as we head into 2020 to express your interest in transit funding. There will be many new legislators taking office this session and will need to hear from their constituents that transit makes a difference. In addition, there will be significant discussion on transportation funding with the defeat of Prop. D and the possible out-of-state internet sales tax revenues.
- Continue reading MPTA’s eblast and blog postings that will keep you updated on where things stand.
- Contact your locally elected officials or weigh in with a letter to the editor about the importance of transit funding. Help build grassroots support in your own community for transit.
- Contact Governor Parson about the need for Missouri to support public transit.
- RIDE TRANSIT, and invite others to get on board with you.
Download the 2020 MPTA Policy Agenda here.